It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when you can hunker down, avoid your family and responsibilities and watch 12-straight hours of NBA basketball on Christmas Day. Although historically the games haven’t provided for the most compelling competition, there are a few this year that might be more fun than talking to your aunt.
Washington Wizards at New York Knicks
(12 noon EST)
The Knicks have won four games and are, by most accounts, hot trash. The Wizards have tied their franchise’s best starting and John Wall is the putting up double-doubles so frequently he sometimes completes them in the first half. The only notable portion of this game is the Liam Neeson commercial, but even the star of Taken would leave the Knicks in the hands of kidnappers.
Rating: Six Geese-a-Laying
Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs
The Thunder finally have Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant back, while the Spurs are winning games with only eight players on the bench. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is notorious for being a real grinch when the NBA wants the Spurs in the spotlight, so he may sit his stars against the Thunder. Even if that happens, this still may be the most watchable game during the daylight hours.
Rating: Five Golden Rings
Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat
This was supposed to be the LeBron James revenge game. Playing his former team with his former-former-now-current team. The Cavs finally got it together offensively, but the Heat are without Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts indefinitely. Dwyane Wade still has some gas in the tank and may try to stick it to his old friend, but if this gets bad early, turn away.
Rating: Ten Lords-a-Leaping
Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls
The Lakers are also very, very bad. The Bulls are off to a pretty good start and Derrick Rose has even played eight games in a row, the most since 2011. There is some watchability in Kobe Bryant shooting 30 or 40 shots a night, but it’s not a great feeling inside.
Rating: Two Turtle Doves
Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers
After a full day of family (and if you’re lucky to have the next day off), you can really get into this game. The Warriors have the best record in the NBA at 22-3 and to go along with the Splash Brothers offensive production of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, they also boast one of the stricter defenses in the league, only allowing 97.6 points per game. The Clippers are off to a slow start by their recent standards, but are still 19-8 and have enough Blake Griffin dunks to make up for any crappy present you received.
Rating: A Partridge in a Pear Tree